DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons are stuck in mediocrity -- can Bradley Beal rescue them?
Beal, 25, has been rumored to be on the trade block as the Washington Wizards struggle to win with their core star players - again.
Beal actually addressed trade rumors in an interview with NBA TV this week.
"That's nonsense," Beal said. "I heard it earlier before the game and I was like if it ain't come from the horse's mouth, it wasn't me. I got this Washington jersey on, I come out and work everyday until otherwise. This is where I want to be."
Unfortunately for Beal, it may not be up to him. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier this month the Wizards are looking to move everyone - including point guard John Wall and Beal.
"Washington's preference remains to reshape the team around Wall and Beal, but poor play among key teammates is limiting their trade value and paralyzing the Wizards' efforts to make meaningful changes to a roster that no longer appears functional together, league sources said," Woj reported.
"I think the Bradley Beal situation we'll monitor," Wojnarowski said on a recent episode of the Woj Pod. "There's very few teams who wouldn't be interested in Bradley Beal. The contract. The player. The age. 25 years old. His skill set. Shooting threes. I know Washington has fielded a lot of calls since last week."
Trading either of them remains complicated. They both have big contracts. But at 8-12, looking at another disappointing season, the Wizards may be forced to find a way.
Should Pistons go after Beal?
Don't tell Beal, but he's actually a perfect fit for the Pistons.
Beal is a career 39 percent three-point shooter. Currently, the Pistons rank 26th in three-point shooting, at 32 percent. They also take the seventh most three point shot in the NBA.
The Pistons are struggling to make outside shots, which is needed in an offense operated through Blake Griffin.
Griffin often drives to the basket and kicks the ball out to a open player on the perimeter. Cue the doink. They miss a lot.
Pairing Beal with Griffin and Drummond could finally open a threat on the perimeter that teams will have to respect.
Pistons haven't had a real shooting guard since Richard Hamilton
It seems like just yesterday Chauncey Billups was passing to a cutting Rip Hamilton for the quick field goal from the top of the lane.
But it wasn't yesterday - it was ten years ago.
Since then, the Pistons have had a revolving door of shooting guards, none too impactful, including:
- Rodney Stuckey
- Ben Gordon
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Jodie Meeks
- Avery Bradley
- Reggie Bullock
Bullock has been a solid shooting guard for the Pistons, providing the only real three-point shooting in the starting lineup aside from Blake Griffin. But it's not enough to move the needle.
Beal by the numbers
Let's take a deeper look at Beal's stats during his six-year NBA career.
- Points per game this year: 22.1 points (18.8 career average)
- 46 percent field goal shooting this year (44 percent career average)
- 75 percent free throw shooter (79 percent career average)
- 108.3 offensive rating this year (career high)
- 111.9 defensive rating this year
- 104.51 pace this year (career high)
Pistons would need to give up key player
In any trade for an All Star like Beal, the Pistons would need to give up a key piece.
Moving point guard Reggie Jackson makes the most sense. The Pistons are arguably more effective with Ish Smith running the point. (I know this is a huge point of contention among Pistons fans)
Ish Smith has a +3.7 this year, while Reggie Jackson has a -2.0. Is Jackson a more dynamic playmaker? Sure. Does he do it consistently? Not a chance.
No matter which way you lean on the point guard debate, it's hard to argue that Jackson is not the player that should be traded, with no real backup plan for Andre Drummond.
The Pistons would likely need to move multiple players and probably a draft pick in a deal for Beal. Probably a Stanley Johnson or Luke Kennard would be in the mix.
Beal would make Pistons better
There's no doubt about this: Bradley Beal makes the Pistons better, no matter who they trade.
The Pistons, stuck in the middle of the East with no real chance at upside, especially without shooting, would improve with Beal.